The 69th Street Pier
Wednesday, June 11, 1999
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani announced the start of a comprehensive reconstruction of the historic 69th Street Pier in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Long a favorite recreation spot for fisherman and strollers, among others, the pier will be transformed into a modern facility that will offer new recreational amenities and opportunities for all New Yorkers.
The reconstruction project was financed with $3 million from City Capital funds and $2 million from the Brooklyn Borough President's office. The project was managed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Improvements, meaning completely removing the old 600-foot-long wooden pier, will include an attractive three-color scoring pattern on the concrete decking, new lighting fixtures, new benches, picnic tables, an information kiosk, dedicated fishing stations with built-in fishing rod holders, and bicycle racks.
What's Under All That Fancy Decking?
Monday 6 December 1999
Gene returns from Brooklyn with the above photo taken in December of 1999...six months from the announcement date for the new pier.
Essentially, it's all concrete...in the distance piles are being driven...in the foreground we see wooden forms set for the pouring of concrete.
Four Months Later
Monday 3 April 2000
Gene returns from Brooklyn with the above photo taken in March of 2000. The forms have been stripped away, and on top of the concrete transverse beams, the decking is already in place. The pastel green covering is most likely tarps to protect the ornate surface of the decking.
Let's Meander About The Completed Structure
Gene dates this photo as 17 July 2000. We're at the beginning of the dock...where it leaves the shore. There's some mosaic brick work only partially shown to the right in this photo...don't know it's significance, or design. However, nothing so far has been spared to produce a nice looking pier. Notice the bollards lined up as a defense against cars, and trucks. For too long the old wooden dock was used as a parking lot after the Ferry Service was terminated. I'd imagine these bollards were salvaged from the original pier...I like to think so. The barge tied up indicates some work still going on.
Gene skips the tables, and benches halfway down the pier...you can see them in the top photo of this series. Here we see the remainder of the pier. For those who remember the old wooden pier, the light tower, which flashed "Red", is no more...well not here anyways. It was of substantial iron, or steel, and stood twenty or thirty feet tall, and itself painted a glossy red. It was of riveted construction...built like a tank, and stood on the NW corner. Old Glory stands center line...a neat arrangement. Wonder if at sunset the flag is lowered.
Kay Pasta? What's Happening? Whattsa dis? A fender? Are they up, and down the dock? Don't see any bollards, or cleats for mooring large vessels. Have a sneeky suspician there's provision of some sorts to moore large vessels in times of "emergencies". The old dock had bollards, and cleats up, and down the dock, and large vessels like Liberty ships were moored temporarily. Large excursion boats did regularly moore to the end of the dock picking up passengers for rides up to Bear Mountain, and over to Noo Joisy. Hmmmm...will wonder about that.
We Luck Out
Going back sixty years...a rare find...a photo of the old dock...at least showing the Light Tower, and a vessel tied up at the end.
Pictured here is me - on the left, and a childhood friend - Randy, and his pal...the "tug" at the end of the dock is the New York Harbor Supervisor...kept an eye on things out in the Narrows. As only pictures can show, the old pier was mostly always in dis-repair after WW2, though it was, even in this condition a favorite spot for Bay Ridgers...dohs people who lived in da area.
Gone now with the old pier are the fragrances of creosoted timbers, and wood...and the harbor waters churned up by the old side-wheel ferries. Yes, side-wheelers, with "walking beams" on top...replaced after the "war" by "Electric Ferries" - diesel electric. Also, mixed in with the creosote; timber; and harbor smells, there was the fragrance of Dixie Cup Ice Cream...the little paper cups with paper lids you peeled the paper off revealing a movie star. Your mother wheeled you out on the pier in your stroller as the dock timbers under your wheels, and your mother's feet rumbled from the cars running beside you to roll onto the ferrie. Tugs tooted, and ship whistles boomed...the harbor was alive...people laughed, and kids screamed...dogs barked, and the swell slapped up under the dock if it was rough. Little "ball bells" would jingle when the fishermen lining the dock edge caught an eel, or fish.
It's the same today except for the creosote...and the harbor traffic...and the rumbling dock timbers...anyways, I think so.